Tell a Story That’s True

October 20, 2009 by

2009_10_19truestory.jpgI keep coming across videos being passed around by Christians that are essentially video versions of debunked e-mail forwards. There’s the more professional “Does God Exist?” video featuring a childhood Albert Einstein (oh wait, no, Snoped!) and the more homemade “This Will Keep Us All Thinking” video telling the story of a USC professor who disproves God every semester (and Snoped!). Both videos have upwards of 100,000 views, boatloads of comments (don’t even go there unless you want to see lots of idiocy) and both are being used to argue for the inclusion of religion in schools. The more professional version is from Macedonia’s Ministry of Education and Science and is arguing for religion in general, the other video is being used by an organization arguing to put Christ back in schools.

The irony is deep.

Let’s make an argument to put religion back in schools that uses debunked stories that we claim are true. That doesn’t say much for the type of educational improvement you want or the integrity of the religion you’re promoting.

Many of the commenters respond to the debunking claims by insisting that the stories are still powerful. And that’s true. A lie can be very powerful. A fictional story can have incredible impact. But pretending a false story is true? That’s manipulation. I don’t even want to get into the logical problems these videos skip over (I mean c’mon, what kind of zany atheist professor honestly thinks they can drop chalk and disprove God?) because the fact that Christians are trying to spread their message of God’s love and truth with false stories and manipulation should be enough to make us cry.

We’ve been saying since the beginning that the church has the greatest story ever told. If we truly believe that, why would we need to make something up? There are plenty of true stories all over the place that are much more powerful than a debunked e-mail forward.

Tell a story that’s true.

Here are a few folks who are doing just that. Sadly they don’t get passed around like e-mail forwards, but I think they have a greater impact:

Post By:

Kevin D. Hendricks

When Kevin isn't busy as the editor of Church Marketing Sucks, he runs his own writing and editing company, Monkey Outta Nowhere. Kevin has been blogging since 1998, runs the hyperlocal site West St. Paul Reader, and has published several books, including 137 Books in One Year: How to Fall in Love With Reading, The Stephanies and all of our church communication books.
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7 Responses to “Tell a Story That’s True”

  • Steve
    October 20, 2009

    I wonder if we should be putting “religion” back in schools. I personally do not believe Christianity is a religion, as it is more of a lifestyle change…a relationship in fact. Many people believe that we should put Christ back into the school system. Honestly, when did He leave? I believe my Lord has been there all along. Maybe He has not been as active as we would have liked at times, but He is there. He is there when a group of students pray around the flagpole before school. He is there when a child reaches out to another who is always made fun of. He is there when a science teacher decides to not teach about evolution as a fact, but instead one of the many theories. He is there when students decide to perform a Christian song in their talent show. He is there when a student prays before his/her test, hoping he/she will do well. He is there when another student prays for a friend, and then finds one in sometimes unexpected places. Are you really willing to say that God and Christ are not in our schools? I beg to differ. I think what many people want is it to be taught again. Truthfully, I’m not sure I want a non-Christian teaching my child about the Bible or God. There is no possible way that schools will start hiring only Christians, as that is discrimination. So, instead of allowing so-called “religion” back into schools, I say that we need to embrace the fact that God NEVER left the schools… We just chose to start ignoring Him.

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  • Brent
    October 20, 2009

    Christ is already in schools. Christian teens go to school everyday. And no one forces them to stop worshiping at the front door. Some Christians just wish kids were forced to pray in schools again. That would be easier than actually taking a stand on our own.

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  • Michael Buckingham
    October 20, 2009

    You are so right Brent.
    I think if we were honest, we’d see that many of the people that complain about “bringing Christ back to the school” in fact just want all the kids to look and act alike.
    Putting Christ into schools, the mall, the world isn’t about forcing someone to say a prayer. It’s about letting Christ pour out of us and through us. It’s not as easy as reciting scripture, but it’s so very effective.

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  • Lincoln Woodard
    October 21, 2009

    Christianity is a fact. We, yes we, have a history, laws, arts, literature and every nation on the earth has a political affiliation with us or against us. The schools have to teach about us because we were the ruling body of western civilization for a time.
    Christian organizations in schools are still around and doing well (FCA). After 9/11 many schools called local pastors to come and talk to the children about the loss. During School career days pastors and fireman get the same bill.
    What more do we want?
    I’m not going to go on and on, but I am not for having multi-religious prayer over my son.
    Teach Morals?
    Who is going to be the moral head? We have so many denominations that coming up with a set of morals to be taught would almost destroy the Christian community.
    I would just note that not only should we make sure that the videos and pamphlets make sense, but we need to make sure that our message makes sense.

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  • Jason
    October 21, 2009

    So true. I got to thinking about the whole culture of email forwards though, and wonder what exactly is going through someone’s mind when the manage a website like this:
    I mean COME ON! I feel like you need to be bipolar, schizophrenic, and delusional to think that is having a positive effect on anyone other than yourself and people like you. I love ’em to death but please wake up to reality and try to be more responsible with what you share online.

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  • Todd Johnson
    October 23, 2009

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, Kevin. I’ve gotten ripped several times for questioning the method of using a known lie to point people to the truth, be it an inspirational “not-so true” story, videos like you mentioned, or prayer chain emails that threaten you with the loss of blessings (do not pass go, do not collect $200) if you fail to pass it along to 10 friends. Not to mention, now that everyone has access to Google, everyone seems to want to mindlessly pass along Christian quotes, some authentic, some attributed to the wrong person, some that are really thinly veiled political or personal attacks, and some that are simply contrary to the Word.
    Since when is the truth not powerful enough? And if we must tell a story, that’s well and good, but why can’t we admit it is just that…. a story? Christians only prove themselves to be foolish and gullible when the dive headlong into believing this and then fiercely defending the exposed lie, instead of humbling recognizing the truth and placing whatever anecdote it is in its proper context.
    God Bless, Keep up the good work! This site has been great for me and very timely to the issues of our growing church (the nursery poll)

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  • john
    October 28, 2009

    I’ll agree it’s way past time ministers understand these tired stories have no real impact. They may make someone feel better (not sure, how), but they do nothing, I believe, to strengthen our faith.
    Going a tad away from the subject: do you think someone might take that view of Scripture? That is, if I’m convinced some of the stories in the Bible are just that, does that make them lies, or “manipulated” “false stories?”
    I’ve never left a comment before, but I appreciate your work. Stay blessed…john

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